Proposed football league is gearing up Organizers confident 1998 start-up on track

March 02, 1997|By BOSTON GLOBE

"In two years, we hope to put the NFL out of business," said Randy Vataha.

Just kidding, of course.

But the former New England Patriots wide receiver and his partner, Bob Caporale, who run the sports consulting firm Game Plan Inc. in Boston, are forming what they consider a fool-proof alternative professional league -- the All-American Football League, scheduled to begin play in March 1998.

One of the unique aspects of the league is that $35 million will be equally divided by 12 teams for player salaries. The teams -- Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, Tampa Bay, Houston, Philadelphia, Detroit, Atlanta, Dallas, and San Francisco -- will be owned by the league and league investors, not individual owners.

Teams will have to manage their payrolls, allowing themselves one big-name, franchise-type player. The bottom of the scale is $35,000, which will be paid to draft picks, or players cut by NFL teams or practice squads, or World League players.

Vataha expects there to be four or five former NFL players per team. The college draft will be similar to the NFL's, but will include players who went undrafted by the NFL.

"When you think about it, Division 1-A college football produces about 2,500 players per year and about 10 percent make it to the NFL," said Vataha. "What we're saying is we're going to take the next 5 percent of those players. We believe we'll be grooming future stars for our league that the NFL might have missed, but by no means are we a feeder league for the NFL."

Pub Date: 3/02/97

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